Three elements of an inviting outdoor space

Posted by Lauran

Lately I’ve been analyzing images of outdoor spaces, as I look for ideas on creating a more usable lounging space in our little backyard. After perusing Pinterest, blogs and HGTV for hours, I have identified three elements that seem to really make an outdoor spaces most inviting to me. These are coverage, comfort, and lighting.

boho pergola

This boho patio shows the three elements at work: coverage, lighting and comfort. Image via Babble, originally posted on Desire to Inspire.


A sense of having something overhead makes a big difference in how an outdoor space feels. Sure, it would be great to have a custom wood pergola for my fancy outdoor living room. But the truth is, a rustic patio overhang (as shown above) works just as well. Even a tree or just an umbrella will do the trick. The key is to give a feeling of coverage, and shade and protection.


This dining space is set up under a tree to provide shade and coverage. Image via decor8.


Look at those amazing textiles in the top photo above. Don’t you just want to sink into those pillows and take a snooze? Whether your space is for dining, lounging or roasting marshmallows it’s essential that it is comfortable. It’s all about pillows, floor cushions, and poufs!


Moroccan lounge image via homedit

Here are more luscious pillows and padding in an amazing Moroccan-inspired outdoor room. Note the bamboo-thatched roof that provides the sense of coverage. And can we talk about those lanterns? Which brings me to the last essential . . .


Soft outdoor lighting may be functional, but it’s also necessary to create the ambiance for your space. There are a lot of great options for outdoor lighting—from string lights, to paper lanterns, to solar-powered mini-lights, to candlelit lanterns.

patio w cafe lights

Cafe string lights hanging from this pergola add to the overall atmosphere of this outdoor lounge created by Shana Feste via country living.

orange umbrella BHG

On this patio, an umbrella provides the shade, the pillows and cushions comfort guests, and paper lanterns provide the lighting. Image via BHG.

I’ve pulled a few good deals from World Market and Home Depot to make it easier (and cheaper)  for you to light up your (outdoor) life.


1. Battery-operated lanterns, $16.99 for 4; 2. Wavy stripe paper string lights, $$29.99 for 35 bulbs; 3. Teardrop solar-powered LED lamp, on sale for $10.49; 4. Edison-style string lights, on sale for $18.74 5. Small blue hanging lantern, on sale for $10.49


1. 10-Light outdoor clear hanging string light, $12.98; 2. Outdoor white portable pendant, $50.50 3. Outdoor 15-bulb string light set, $99

Our favorite summer colors

Posted by Lauran

It’s June, and this month our blog will focus on—what else—SUMMER! Let’s start with summer colors . . . the blues of the ocean, the hues of tropical fruits. I turned to my favorite source for color inspiration, Design Seeds . . .


summer brights

. . . then I sourced paint colors that bring these summer-fresh palettes home. (All paint colors are Benjamin Moore.)

Lake Blue

Winter Lake 2129-50, used in the kitchen of a house we staged two weeks ago


Tropicana Cabana 4048-50, as seen in Coastal Living


Kokopelli Teal 648, as seen in the Condesa DF hotel in Mexico City, via Lost at E Minor

IslandblueCovington Blue HC-138, as seen in a master bedroom from one of our staged homes


Mango Punch 154, used in a kitchen by Scott Weston Architecture Design PL, via Houzz


Tasty Apple 416, via Redbook

Which is your favorite? What colors screams “summer” to you? Tell us in the comments below!